Mission of UI PRC and the Prevention Research Program

The University of Iowa Prevention Research Center (UI PRC) was first funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2002. The 25 Prevention Research Centers constitute a network of academic, community, and public health partners that conducts applied public health research. The mission of the UI PRC is to improve the health of rural communities in Iowa, the surrounding states and the U.S. The UI PRC has three main thematic areas of focus:

  • Rural and/or micropolitan area health disparities
  • Advancing understanding of the relationships between social and structural determinants and health outcomes in rural and/or micropolitan areas
  • Developing and testing interventions for, or adaptation of evidence-based interventions (EBIs) to rural and/or micropolitan populations.


PRC’s create health promotion and disease prevention strategies that work and can bring long-term benefits to communities. PRC’s also offer training and technical assistance to the public health community. The UI PRC is part of the Department of Community and Behavioral Health in the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa. The faculty of the PRC represent many different disciplines including public health, community & behavioral health, economics, biostatistics, health promotion, nutrition, community psychology, medicine,  health behavior & education, and exercise physiology.


For an overview of the CDC PRC program watch the video


Why is Rural Health Important?

Rural Health Farm PictureAccording to the U.S. Census Bureau, 25% of all U.S. residents live in rural communities of less than 2500 people.  Of the 99 counties in Iowa, 90 of them are classified as rural. Rural Americans face multiple barriers that can adversely affect their health such as higher rates of poverty, geographic obstacles to health care and less access to health care providers.  Across the US in general, rural areas have been shown to have a higher than average prevalence of obesity and fewer persons meeting physical activity recommendations. Large parts of the rural population of Iowa are middle-aged and older adults as younger residents move to urban areas and leave the state. All of these factors contribute to increased injury, morbidity, and mortality among rural populations.